Besides the “techno free” zones and “sitting in your house” that I described in earlier posts, drive time has come to be a meaningful talk time for our family. (See Who’s Got Their Shoes On? for more one-on-one vehicle talking tips.) In this drive time post, I just want to encourage families in general to reduce the “independent” times in the vehicle and make drive time more “community” time.
What is a techno-free zone today? I remember when we would have our nightly living room meetings with our teens and pre-teens before they went to bed at night. We only had a television on a cart in our bedroom closet that we would pull out to watch things together as a family. We had one desk top computer in the dining room—an open room between the kitchen and living room. And that was it. Period.
Techno-free zones were easy to come by for us.
It got harder as the kids got older. We eventually had to declare techno free talks—phones off, etc.
The scene was familiar….a teen sprawled across the foot of our bed. Hubby has to get up. The clock indicating it was after midnight. The aforementioned teen in tears.
Hurt. Disappointment. Rejection.
And the “all nighter” was in progress.
The scene was the same for our three girls and Mom and Dad—time to gather in the living room with calendars in hand, ready to go over the upcoming weeks and months to be sure we have everything down on the schedule—and to be sure that we have plenty of time set aside for each other and our family. What wasn’t the same was the addition of our future son-in-law—a sweet, amazing young man who has no need for meetings, sitting for long periods of time listening to three teenage/young adult girls and their parents gab. His response to our “calendar meeting” was hilarious as he put a pillow over his head and kept coming up periodically to ask if it was almost over!
When our older kids turned twelve (girls) or thirteen (boys), they began to have a special privilege known as “half birthday dates.” At the 12 ½ (or 13 ½) year old mark, that child got taken out to dinner with Mom and Dad for a unique dinner date.